Three months after the Burlington County Prosecutor found Evesham officials violated the Sunshine Law by discussing a controversial helipad project through electronic chat, the council voted to restrict the use of e-mails and texts.
Prosecutor Robert Bernardi said that the mayor and council deprived the public from hearing dialog and debate at an open meeting when they exchanged a series of e-mails on their smartphones in March. He declined to prosecute them or fine them $100, saying he believed the chat was a mistake. But he recommended the council adopt a law to prevent future breaches.
The council last week approved a ban on e-mails and texts between a majority of its members. Also prohibited are “rolling e-mails” in which officials forward their messages and banter back and forth on an issue.
"We are not allowed to make a decision by e-mail," said Township Manager Thomas Czerniecki. Nor can the council debate something outside a public meeting, he said.